It’s hard to imagine how he started out. Little farm boy playing in the fields around. I wish I knew how he began. How did he get here, to be my Dad? And did anyone see it? Did they recognize? Seven times seventy skies, passed over til that shaft of sunlight fell on the seed of a redwood. Fell on a little farm boy who believed in something good. Because he’s a calming landmark in all our lives. Like an anchor in the forest, rising high. We rush around, and we forge ahead. But he stays to mark the path where we’ve been. So out there when we feel alone, we just look for him, and we’ll find home. He’s like a redwood. He’s like a song calling out something good. It doesn’t matter, through fire or sleet. Highs or lows, he holds steady. Peace, his own heartbeat. When the smoke clears or the winter’s done, he’ still there, still firm and calm. It’s his pulse that keeps us all alive. His cadence of growth, his own design. He’s like a redwood. He’s like a song believing in something good. Cut him open and count the rings. See the seasons he’s worn thin, the seasons he weeps. The years where the joy made him grin, and the stretches where the growth was within. Seven times seventy lives. The ones’s he touched, the ones he’s multiplied. He’s like a redwood. Keeps humming along a song of something good. Steady as the rising sun. Looking upward ’til the day is done. Arms hold high the silver sky, he drinks up the rain to keep us all dry. His branches are the covering, so what’s beneath is always flourishing. So that there are more redwoods. So there are more songs pointing to something good. He reminds me of the One who spread His own arms wide; the One who now reigns from the skies. Palms raised, dripping the blood that gives life. Water flowing down the red wood to change us inside. Forgiveness seven times seventy had, a love that made it all the way to my Dad. And made him a redwood. Made his life a song of something good. The kind that hangs on, the kinds that boasts none, the kind that covers every offense. The kind that holds up, the kind that bears all, even when we're struggling. The kind that stays strong, the kind that stays calm, the kind that gives all that it has. The kind that loves all, the kind that prays long, even when he's suffering. Now he digs the holes; he plants the seeds. He waters, bends. He pulls the weeds. So the ones around him can grow. So they can thrive, so they know. The meaning of red wood. Just what it means to be very good. He is a redwood. His life is a song of something good.
*The title and certain lines in this poem were inspired by the song Redwood, by Stephanie Quick.